Cruising to Medicare Enrollment with the Medicare Decision Road MapPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Let’s say you’re taking a road trip. You’d probably plan your route ahead of time, right? Maybe you’d break your trip into steps, like how many miles you wanted to travel in a day, or where you wanted stop each night. You might also look at the map for alternate routes. Do you want to stick to the main roads or take a scenic route? It’s the same principle when thinking about your Medicare coverage. Let the Medicare Made Clear Medicare Decision Road Map guide you along your way.
Checking In – Decide which Road Map You Need
The first page of the Medicare Decision Road Map is like the front desk of a hotel. When you check in at a hotel, the person at the desk tells you where to go, how to find your room, etc. It’s the same thing when you look at the first page of the Medicare Decision Road Map. When you arrive at this page, you click on the button that best describes where you are on your Medicare journey. This will lead you to the “room” with the road map that best meets your specific needs.
- New to Medicare: If you’re new to Medicare, you’ve got three choices of road maps, based on how you qualify for Medicare:
- Already enrolled in Medicare: if you already have Medicare coverage but want to switch plans, this is the road map for you.
A Sample Trip with a Road Map
Let’s say you’re new to Medicare. Your 65th birthday is coming up, which means you’ll be “aging into” Medicare. You went to the first page of the Medicare Decision Road Map, looked at the “Enrolling in Medicare for the first time” section and clicked the “Turning 65” button. What next?
Important Milestones: Timing matters when it comes to making decisions about your Medicare coverage. That’s why the decision road maps are divided up according to milestones, just like you might plan a road trip. These two milestones are preparation and enrollment periods. Preparation
When you take a trip, you might use a list to make sure your trip goes smoothly. By planning ahead, you’ll be sure to have everything you need for a successful trip. Planning ahead with Medicare can help you be ready when your enrollment window opens. You’ll know which choices are right for you and why. When you click on the “Preparation” button within the road map you’ve chosen, you’ll see a lot of helpful information that will help you prepare for enrollment. There’s even a link to a checklist you can use to make sure your journey to enrollment goes as smoothly as possible.
On the main page of your road map (for example, this one for “Turning 65”), you’ll see a timeline containing the main enrollment periods you might be eligible for. If you want more information about a specific enrollment period, you can just click on the button with the name. For example, “Initial Enrollment Period.” Each enrollment period’s page contains the most important information about that enrollment period. For example, you might learn:
- The dates or timelines for the enrollment period
- Whether or not the enrollment period applies to all Medicare parts or plans
- What happens if you miss the enrollment period
- If and when any “special” enrollment periods might apply
Moving through the road map is simple, too. For example, maybe you’ve read about your Initial Enrollment Period but want to learn about other enrollment periods. To do this, you can click on “Other Enrollment Periods” near the top of the page. You can also go to the bottom of the page and click the “Next” button until you get where you want to go. Plus, if you’re going through a road map and don’t think it’s really what you were looking for after all, you can just click on the “Select a different road map” link at the top of the page. This will take you back to the page with all the road maps listed and you can choose one that better meets your needs.
Remember: these examples and links were just for one specific road map. Be sure to choose the road map that best describes your reason for looking for Medicare information. That way, you can be sure what you’re seeing fits your specific needs.
Everyone has different reasons for researching Medicare coverage. The needs of someone new to Medicare may not match those of someone who already has coverage and is looking to switch plans. The Medicare Made Clear Medicare Decision Road Map can help you get on the road to finding coverage that meets your specific needs.
For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
MedicareMadeClear: Decision Roadmap tool
MedicareMadeClear: Decision Roadmap page
Medicare.gov: Plan Finder tool
Y0066_120402_140402 File & Use 04092012